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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English omelī, omelīe, omelye, from Old French omelie and Ecclesiastical Latin homilia, omilia (homily), from Ancient Greek ὁμιλία (homilía, homily; instruction),[1] from ὅμῑλος (hómīlos, crowd, throng) + -ῐ́ᾱ (-íā, suffix forming abstract feminine nouns). ὅμῑλος is derived from ὁμός (homós, common; same) + ῑ̓́λη (ī́lē, crowd) (from εἴλω (eílō, to aggregate)).



homily (plural homilies)

  1. (Christianity) A sermon, especially concerning a practical matter.
    • c. 1598–1600, William Shakespeare, “As You Like It”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act III, scene ii], page 196, column 1:
      O moſt gentle Iupiter! What tedious homilie of Loue haue you wearied your pariſhioners withall, and neuer cri'de, haue patience good people.
    • 1709, [Ælfric of Eynsham]; Eliz[abeth] Elstob, “The Preface”, in An English-Saxon Homily on the Birth-day of St. Gregory: [], London: Printed by W[illiam] Bowyer, OCLC 863245943, page lvi:
      But to return to the Homily on St. Gregory. It is printed from a Tranſcript I had made of it from one made by Dr. Hopkins, I believe, out of the Cottonian Book, Vitellius D. 17. [] The Homily is one of thoſe which were prepared by Ælfrick, to be uſed in the Engliſh Saxon Church: []
    • 1998, Robert P. Waznak, “From Sermon to Homily”, in An Introduction to the Homily, Collegeville, Minn.: The Liturgical Press, →ISBN, page 16:
      [W]e must pay attention not only to the rich tradition of the homily in the early Church and the retrieval of this preaching form by Vatican II but also to the evolving understandings of the homily from those who have tried to respond to the changing cultural patterns, pastoral needs, and theological trends of the day.
    • 1990, Origen; Gary Wayne Barkley, transl., “Introduction”, in Origen: Homilies on Leviticus 1–16 (The Fathers o the Church; 83), Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, →ISBN, page 4:
      [W]hen one approaches Origen's homilies, this aspect of the work of the priest must be kept in mind. The purpose of his sermons was to instruct and to lead beginners in the faith to a higher level of understanding and maturity.
  2. A moralizing lecture.
    • 1660, Edm. Gurnay [i.e. Edmund Gurney], Gurnay Redivivus, or An Appendix unto the Homily against Images in Churches, [London]: Re-published this present year, [] And are to be sold by J. Rothwel [], OCLC 13693613, page 2:
      How expreſſe and poſitive the doctrine of our Church is againſt them, our English Homily entitled Againſt the perill of idolatry, abundantly declareth; []
    • 1821, Lord Byron, “Cain, a Mystery”, in Sardanapalus, a Tragedy; The Two Foscari, a Tragedy; Cain, a Mystery, London: John Murray, [], OCLC 317087118, Act II, scene ii, page 385:
      But if it be as I have heard my father / Deal out in his long homilies, 'tis a thing— / Oh God! I dare no think on 't!
    • 1848, Robert Montgomery, “In Divine Things to be Neutral is to be Infidel”, in The Gospel in Advance of the Age: Being a Homily for the Times, 3rd edition, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, [], OCLC 4366068, page 320:
      Will it be said, that Literature and Christianity, are two distinct things? Or, that it would be preposterous to expect that every writer should give us a homily, when we want to laugh, or a sermon, when we wish to think?
  3. A platitude.
Related terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]


homily (comparative more homily, superlative most homily)

  1. In a homey manner.
    • 1980, Stephen King, Big Wheels: A Tale of the Laundry Game
      Rocky handed it [the beer] to Bob, whose demurrals petered out as he held the can's cold actuality in his hand. It bore the smiling face of Lynn Swann. He opened it. Leo farted homily to close the transaction.


  1. ^ omelī(e, n.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007, retrieved 16 June 2018.

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